Lotus Elan

Problems

PostPost by: ivor badger » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:15 pm

Went to move Elan today, been lying a few weeks as too busy to use it. Starter would work properly with dim lights and tail lights on dimly. So eventually traced to bad battery earth. When the car has been rechassised the earth to chassis joint has been extremely badly made. Simply the battery cable put over a chassis/ body bolt in the boot, a 5/16" terminal over a 3/8" bolt so its hard to get off, currently it isn't off. A clean and a washer have currently fixed it.

The point is that to be properly assembled, you would clamp the chassis/ body bolt up and then sandwich the earth between two washers and an extra nut (after running a file through the terminal hole). Now how common is this and how many cars have continuous problems from this level of rebuilt in minor assembly faults such as this?

The exhaust mounting bracket bolts are also fitted upwards, so the spare rests on the end of the bolt threads instead of the heads.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:47 pm

Why did you start your car with the lights on?

Can't believe that anyone here can possibly answer the question in paragraph two with any degree of certainty.

Not sure what you mean by "spare"; if you mean spare wheel and you think that the bolts should be the other way around, why not turn them over? :roll:
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PostPost by: ivor badger » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:45 pm

elansprint71 wrote:Why did you start your car with the lights on?

Can't believe that anyone here can possibly answer the question in paragraph two with any degree of certainty.

Not sure what you mean by "spare"; if you mean spare wheel and you think that the bolts should be the other way around, why not turn them over? :roll:


I didn't start the car with the lights on. Because the battery couldn't earth through the chassis, it earthed through the back lights earth on the same bolt.

Going to change the bolts over. At least it's not as bad as the guy on the mini site who is looking for a cure to the self tappers up through the floor on his rally car.
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:17 pm

It's often not the connection between the earth cable ring terminal and the bolt that causes the bad earth, it's the bolt head not making good contact with the chassis below. It's a good idea to remove the bolt completely and clean off the chassis where it passes through as well as cleaning the terminal inside the boot. After tightening the bolt you need to keep a spanner on it while you tighten the nut inside the boot, particularly if you are using a lock nut, as this tends to undo the bolt as you do up the nut. Personally I wouldn't use two washers as you suggest - just a nut and lock washer or a locknut alone. My theory is the more elements involved the more likely a bad connection. I'm sure others will disagree.

Regards,
Roger
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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:36 pm

oldelanman wrote:It's often not the connection between the earth cable ring terminal and the bolt that causes the bad earth, it's the bolt head not making good contact with the chassis below. It's a good idea to remove the bolt completely and clean off the chassis where it passes through as well as cleaning the terminal inside the boot. After tightening the bolt you need to keep a spanner on it while you tighten the nut inside the boot, particularly if you are using a lock nut, as this tends to undo the bolt as you do up the nut. Personally I wouldn't use two washers as you suggest - just a nut and lock washer or a locknut alone. My theory is the more elements involved the more likely a bad connection. I'm sure others will disagree.

Regards,


I've also become a really big fan of dielectric grease for every connection that is exposed to weather or other corrosive forces. Great stuff.
Jim

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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:52 pm

OK, I don't know what the point of the post is as there seems to be a need to put the blame on someone. There seems like there are a lot of hands that could be blamed for a problem of this sort but in the end it was a simple fix that could be done by the owner. This is not a complicated starting system and you did manage to sus it out for yourself. That's Great! A more modern car may not of had the problem but after many owners, it may have and you probably would have been screwed. Lets see, there is the connection at the starter, 2 at the soinoid and one at the battery on the hot side. On the earth side of things there is the battery, the cable, the bolt to the chassis and the ground strap from the right hand engine mount to the block. All of it is accessable except for the connection on the starter. The source of the problem is a 3/8 unc bolt that should have a internal tooth washer, a large diameter flat washer under the chassis, the ring ground for the rear of the Elan, another internal tooth 3/8" washer and then a 3/8 unc nut. well thats the way I remember it anyway. The bobbin in the body is threaded so its works out to be a double nut of sorts. I took a couple of photos of my S2 and the S4 Coupe, THe S2 has been running for 13 years with 4 different batterys so things get looked at every couple years and I do find a loose connection now and again. The Coupe has not run yet and has sat for the better half of 15 years, the electrical system has been tested but not run. I guess I may have to do something one day.

S2 with shut off, Beauregard's tail sometimes hit it at awkward times :)
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Last edited by garyeanderson on Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: ivor badger » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:08 pm

Gary, at least you used a washer under the nut.

I was not trying to place the blame or otherwise on anyone. Just point out that many problems are caused by simply bad workshop practice. Not as bad as the guy on the Mini site that wanted solutions to the self tappers he had used to fit stuff to the floor of his rally mini and wanted a cure for them (pointed ends) sticking up through the floor. One idea was to blunt them with a file. Hands up anyone who has managed to take the end off a self tapper with a file.
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PostPost by: reb53 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:15 am

I ran a drill through the bobbin in the floor so that it no longer has any threads in it.
Now I know there is good contact between the bolt head and the chassis.

Ralph.
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:10 pm

The earth connected here is a major cause of bad earth. Relocate the earth con' to the top chassis mounts at the rear. The same fixings secure the cross plate. Clean up a good area and re run your cable to here. You can also if you wish 'loop 'it over to the other side also. This gives a direct good metal to metal contact and is a much better earth. I also fixed a few male spades to the x plate. Great for running separate earths to.

But as I always say.................. To each their own.


Alex... 8)
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